Cleaning up the food chain

I still haven’t got over the shock of finding out that the chicken in that readymade TV dinner could have been dead for seven years before it reached my microwave – without anybody breaking any laws, but rather knowing the regulations inside out and sticking to the letter of them, passing from deep freeze within one jurisdiction to the next.

As it happens, I almost never eat prepared food and am super-picky about where I buy meat. But after so many scandals in the food chain – from traces of horse meat to untruthful fishing practices and worse – I’m much taken by this application of blockchain technology: Provenance, is using blockchain technology to track raw materials as they move through the supply chain and has just completed a six month trial tracking tuna fish in Indonesia.

Here, fishermen text message details of their catches to the Provenance blockchain and a digital token is attached to the fish as it passes through the supply chain. The company’s founder and CEO, Jessi Baker, said in an interview this week that the trial was a success and has “proved the viability for public blockchains”.

Keeping it legal

She added, “The whole reason for doing this is to differentiate fish that are caught in a sustainable way to those caught illegally. Most fishermen have got a mobile phone and, as much as possible, we’ve tried to make our system work using existing infrastructure.”

Provenance is now working with The Co-operative retail chain to ensure that its products in its supermarkets are derived from ethical sources. Yay!


    About The Author

    Snr Director, Research & Media

    Annie Turner has been researching and writing about the communications industry since the 1980s, editing magazines dedicated to the subject including titles published by Thomson International and The Economist Group. She has contributed articles to many publications, including national and international newspapers such as the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune, and a multitude of business-to-business titles. She joined the TM Forum in 2010 and is responsible for overseeing the content of the Research and Publications portfolio.

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